Rock the body…

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I believe I have spoken of my own fashion despairs in the past. I am an accessory moron, and I will likely never quite grasp the aspects of chic.

I can recall pouring over the various fashion magazines and teen tomes that addressed all the latest when I was actually of an age to start exploring my own personal style. I even followed certain fads and fashion trends back in the day… I will spare you the mental images of me in the 80’s, but suffice to say I tried my hand at a variety of different looks. However, I have to admit that no matter what I did, I can say with some amounts of confidence that it always carried the aspects of someone going to a fancy-dress party rather than any style that I could own as mine.

Through the years, I’ve actually been told that I have the stature and build that can get away with following the trends. Be that as it may, I always feel when I try to embrace the fashions that I see displayed on so many others that I am a set of clothes walking about the world with a dowdy frump of a woman hidden inside. Or worse, the cute outfits on little petite things, and I try them and look like the linebacker from the football team in drag… yeah. It never feels comfortable the way my rattiest jeans and t-shirt do.

All that said… I do have an eye for these things. I see looks and outfits and general styles that appeal to me. I find them looking sharp and smart and wish that I could wear it myself with the same aplomb as the model or my friends and colleagues who manage it so well. I observe the writhing humanity about me on a regular basis and recognize that some of them obviously struggle with this as much or more than I do. I have to admire some of them for the bravery they espouse by merely trying to exhibit the fashions of the day. And then… I am also very certain that there are people who must not possess a mirror, or at least, they’ve never actually gazed upon their own image after dressing. I know, it’s catty and horrid and possibly engaging in the shaming of some type or other… but seriously… let me preach on it.

As I have said, I spent a good deal of time in my teens and adolescence trying out the latest trends. What all that playing about with fashion taught me was that just because something is the latest thing doesn’t mean that it is meant for my body. For instance, pleated jeans and tapered legs were all the rage at one time, but I assure you… NO ONE LOOKS GOOD IN THEM. That diamond shape that is created by the “mom jean” and little skinny ankle cuffs is not flattering to any body. And don’t get me started on skinny jeans… Additionally, while I do not think that you have to always “act your age” as they say, and people can stay young by acting young… there are limits, people. There is such a thing as dignity, and no matter what they say and how physically fit you are, no one should be wearing a micro-mini in their 40’s. In fact, I would say that to be perceived as an elegant and sophisticated individual, the whole miniskirt phenomena should probably have left the wardrobe before the 30’s were in the rearview. There are exceptions and leniency for certain people who really do have the “rockin’ body,” but the problem becomes that the skin of our knees gives away our age and is not so very attractive no matter how well we try to maintain otherwise, and it sadly has not a thing to do with weight or fitness.

There is also, for me, the leggings argument. I’m going to say this once. LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. Oh, I’ve seen the video of the gal who says “Well, they aren’t a shirt… or a hat…” Yeah, I get what you are saying. They go on the lower half of the body. That doesn’t make them pants. It just does not, anymore than my panties, tights, socks, or support stockings are. Just because you wear them on your legs and lower bits does not mean that they should be your external wear and exhibited to the general public. No one wants to see cameltoe or every dimple of cellulite in the hindquarters. And guys, unless you are with the Bolshoi or Met company… I do not want to be able to tell your religion by looking at your crotch. Invest in some support and wear some pants. Have a little common sense and modesty. Leggings are great for wearing under long sweaters and tunics and sometimes skirts (though, seriously watch that! The 80’s were not that flattering, remember). Running tights, bicycle shorts, yoga pants, and other sport bottoms are fine… at the gym or on the track or in the yoga studio. They really are not that attractive worn out in public.

There are people in the world that seem to look amazing in anything they throw on their body. It’s still not advisable to go to a black tie event or even a nice restaurant wearing stretch pants with an oversized sweater or your latest phenomenally expensive workout clothing purchase to a job interview (See TNC: Dress for Success). It just isn’t on. Have some respect for the occasions, the workplace, and most importantly yourself.

I do not care what shape you are in… or are not in for that matter. Just because Vogue exhibits models that occasionally look like they have just been rescued from the camps at Auschwitz does not mean that everyone should aspire to a body mass index closely approximating emaciation. Additionally, as foreign as the concept is to many of us… and definitely to myself… there are people who are embarrassed by the fact that they feel too skinny and just can’t gain weight. It happens people.

A lot of high fashion designers (I’m talking the haute couture stuff that would never be realistic anywhere but a runway) tend to sculpt their creations around forms that tend to resemble clothes hangers… the wire kind. It is just easier to make fabrics drape and show off the form of the costume rather than the form of a normal, and varied, human form. Which brings me back to where I was going originally. We all see things in advertisements and billboards, red carpet events televised and entertainment media. We like them. We wish we could emulate them, but most of the time, we are looking at people who have entirely different body types than the ones we currently possess (or are likely to possess at any given time). It’s the nature of the species to admire ideals and aspire to emulate, while often lacking the natural foundation approximating the type. It’s fine, honestly. Beauty and attractiveness and health actually occur in many different forms.

It is entirely possible to be stylish, smart, and fabulous without exactly replicating the fashion of a different body type. It merely requires throwing out the trendy expectations and evaluating what actually flatters your own shape. There are too many out there who are bound, bent, and determined to wear a look that does nothing but accentuate the negative (think bound and bent some more)… and in the end people notice nothing but the clothing because it is positively screaming, entirely missing the person wearing them. Regardless of what anyone thinks, this is not the attention or assumptions that you should want. There are others who give up on looking stylish because their bodies will never look like that of starlets and supermodels. Those souls tend to hide under clothing that once again, does absolutely nothing to exhibit the amazing qualities of the person wearing them. Clothing is like window treatment. It shouldn’t be the entire focus. It should merely accent and draw the eye to the view.

Sure, it might be easier to choose wardrobe if one has won the genetic lottery, but even if you don’t look like the latest runway angel, that doesn’t mean that you have to relegate yourself to the sackcloth and ashes line. Additionally, while pursuing physical fitness goals is great for health and can help with some wardrobe concerns, it doesn’t solve all problems (ask anyone who lifts or does body building about finding a shirt with long sleeves that doesn’t look like they might turn green and shred the material at any moment). No matter whether you’ve got a rockin’ body or not… Just remember to rock the body you got!

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